At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Natchez — Special 5 Reloading Press Kit, $199.99
This is an excellent entry-level reloading kit, which is on sale for $199.99 at Natchez Shooters Supplies. We like the relatively compact Special 5 press for most reloading duties. Eventually you may want to add an additional, large heavy press, but this will get the job done. This kit includes an RCBS Powder Measure, Digital Scale, Powder Trickler, Hand Priming Tool, Load Manual, Loading Tray, and more. It’s hard to beat this combination of tools for under $200.00.
Walker’s new Razor-X and Razor-XV operate like electronic muffs — allowing you to hear commands and conversations while still blocking loud noises. The Razor-X combines a collar unit (containing the electronics) with retractable, foam-tipped ear buds. Unlike conventional earmuffs, the Razor-X system doesn’t interfere with your cheek weld. The patent-pending earbuds provide an impressive 31dB of noise reduction, with the ability to hear commands. To ensure a good fit (for best noise reduction), the Razor-X and Razor-VX come with two styles of noise-reducing foam tips. An AC wall adapter with USB port and a one-meter micro USB cord is provided. READ Razor-X User Reviews.
We like reactive targets. It’s fun to “ring steel” and see a target move instantly when hit. For just twenty bucks (including shipping), it’s hard to go wrong with this 8″ AR500 Steel Gong. The 8″-diameter size is big enough for zeroing at 200 yards, yet offers a nice challenge at 500 yards and beyond. There is also a 6″-diameter model for $16.00.
4. Cabelas — Big Ammo Sale Plus FREE Shipping
Right now, Cabela’s is running a big sale on all types of ammunition from major manufacturers. Save as much as 20% off regular pricing. For example, Winchester 9mm pistol ammo is marked down from $13.99 to $11.99 for 50 rounds. And PMC X-Tac 5.56×45 ammo is reduced from $9.99 to $8.49 for 20 rounds. Plus, you can get FREE SHIPPING on all orders of $99.00 or more. Use Code 86BUY during checkout (code valid through 8/31/2016).
5. Kelbly.com — 15% Off Discount on All Products
Looking for a Panda or Atlas Action, or a complete match rifle? Here’s a great promotion from our friends at Kelbly’s. Now through Tuesday, August 23, 2016 you can get 15% of ANYthing on the Kelblys.com website. That includes rifles, actions, stocks, barrels, scope rings, muzzle brakes, Berger bullets, accessories and more. To save big, use code 15ALL at checkout. Don’t delay — this offer expires at 11:59 pm on September 1, 2016.
6. Midsouth — Complete Case Tumbling Kit, $73.70
This brass tumbling system contains everything you need to clean your cartridge brass: Vibratory Case Tumbler, Rotary Media Separator, 6 lbs. of Corn Cob Media, and 8 oz. of Brass Polish. Right now this whole system is on sale at Midsouth for just $73.70. The case tumbler, which holds 450 .223 Rem cases or 1000 9mm cases, has a three-year motor warranty. This is a good deal for the package. You could pay $65.00 for a good vibratory Tumbler by itself.
7. Natchez Shooters Supply — 325 Rounds .22 LR Ammo, $22.99
This Federal .22 LR ammo is just 7 cents per round — the kind of pricing on bulk rimfire ammo we used to see in the “good old days”. Act quickly, this $22.99 Federal .22 LR Ammo deal won’t last long. Each box contains 325 rounds — enough ammo for many sessions at the range. The bullets are 40 grains, solid lead.
8. CDNN — Browning A-Bolt with Nikon Scope, $639.99 w/Rebate
Right now you can get a nice, wood-stocked Browning A-Bolt III Hunting rifle in .308 Winchester for just $689.99. And, to sweeten that deal, the current “Browning Benjamins” Rebate program knocks $50.00 off, so the price (with rebate) is just $639.99. This package includes a Nikon Buckmaster II 4-12x40mm BDC scope. This same Browning/Nikon special is available in many other chamberings for the same price: .243 Win, .270 Win, .270 WSM, 7mm-08, .30-06 Spr, .300 Win Mag.
9. Browning — Save Up to $100 on Browning Firearms (Rebates)
Now through the end of September, 2016, Browning is offering substantial cash rebates on rifles, pistols, and shotguns. Save $100.00 on a shotgun, $50.00 on a rifle, or $25.00 with this rebate offer, good on firearms purchases made by September 30th. Browning makes some pretty darn good firearms. This Editor owns a Browning Citori Shotgun and it’s a gem. CLICK HERE for details and Rebate Form.
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Do you know what the inside of a rifle chamber (and throat zone) really looks like? Do you understand the concept of headspace and why it’s important? If not, you should read the Brownells GunTech article Gauging Success – Minimum Headspace and Maximum COL. This article explains the basics of headspace and shows how to measure headspace (and length to lands) in your barrels with precision. The article also explains how to adjust your full-length sizing dies to “bump the shoulder” as needed.
Why is headspace important? The article explains: “Controlling headspace and setting proper C.O.L. also represent improved safety and reduced cost of handloading. Excessive headspace can cause case head separation and gases in excess of 60,000 PSI escaping from a rifle’s chamber. Too little headspace can result in a chamber forced bullet crimp and a bullet that becomes an obstruction more than a properly secured projectile. Excessive C.O.L. can result in a rifling-bound bullet, a condition that could result in spikes of excessive pressure.” [Editor’s NOTE: It is common for competitive benchrest shooters to seat bullets into the rifling. This can be done safely if you reduce your loads accordingly. With some bullets we often see best accuracy .010″ (or more) into the lands. However, this can generate more pressure than the same bullet seated .010″ away from initial lands contact. As with all reloading, start low and work up gradually.]
How is headspace specified? Most cartridges used within the United States are defined within ANSI/SAAMI Z299.3-4. Brownells explains: “In the case of the .243 Winchester, as an example, there are pressure specifications, cartridge drawings and, as pictured above, chamber drawings. Armed with a chamber drawing, each manufacturer producing a firearm for the .243 Winchester knows the proper standard dimension to cut chambers and set headspace. Notice there are two headspace reference dimensions for the chamber. The upper is a place in the chamber where the shoulder is .400″ in diameter; the “datum” or “basic” line. The lower is the 1.630″~1.640″ minimum – maximum dimension from the breech face (bolt face) to that point in the chamber that measures .400″.”
The actual headspace of any firearm is the distance from the breech face to the point in the chamber that is intended to prevent forward motion of a cartridge.
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If you load pistol ammo you should have a case gauge (aka “gage”) for each cartridge type you reload. Caliber-specific, precision-machined cylindrical gauges perform many important functions. They will instantly reveal if your rounds are too long or have excessive headspace. They will also show if your case is bulged or otherwise too fat to chamber easily. You can use the gauge with sized brass as well as loaded rounds.
Case gauges are a “must-have” for anyone loading handgun ammunition, particularly if you crank out large quantities of pistol ammo with a progressive press. An oversize round can cause a misfeed, jam, or other problem. That can ruin your day if you are in the middle of a shooting match. If you are relying on your handgun for self-defense, the last thing you want is a malfunction of any kind. This Editor personally runs every pistol round through a gauge before it goes into the ammo box.
UltimateReloader.com Video Shows How to Use Pistol Case Gauges:
Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com has prepared an excellent video that explains the benefits of pistol case gauges and shows how to use them. Gavin uses the quality gages produced by L.E. Wilson. These are available for the most popular handgun cartridges, both autoloader cartridges, and rimmed revolver cartridges. Gavin demonstrates gage use with .40 SW and .44 magnum cases.
Gavin states: “Using a case gage is very simple, and I would recommend that you add one of these gages to your reloader’s tool chest for each of the pistol cartridge types you reload. It may just save you a lot of time and hassle. Peace of mind is hard to put a price on!”
Jeremy Rowland decided to put together an F-TR rifle for his eldest daughter, who enjoys competitive shooting. For his daughter, Rowland chose the .223 Rem option because it has less recoil and components are less costly than the .308 Win. Here is Rowland’s account of how he developed a .223 Rem load. For more details (with data charts), read Jeremy’s FULL STORY on Sierra Bullets Blog.
Journey to Find a .223 Rem F-Class Load
by Jeremy Rowland, Reloading Podcast
My oldest daughter has been to several matches with me, and has even competed in several, using her .243. I decided this coming season (2016), she would compete with a .223 Rem in FT/R. Looking for a good starter rifle, I settled on the Savage Axis Heavy Barrel since it has a 1:9″ twist. This would be a great little rifle for her to learn on. The rifle was shot unmodified, as it came from the factory. A Sinclair F-Class Bipod w/micro elevation adjustment was fitted to the front.
Next came the testing. I decided to run a ladder test (one shot per charge from min to max looking for the accuracy node). The ladder test ranged from 23.5 grains to 25.6 grains, in 0.3 grain increments.
After his ladder test, Rowland settled on a load of 25.2 grains of Hodgdon CFE 223. He then fine-tuned his load with different seating depths: “I loaded up 5 rounds each at .020″ off lands, .015″ off lands, .010″ off lands, and .005″ off the lands. Here are the results from the best group for OAL/Ogive fine tuning. As you can see, I think I’ve found a winner in these 69 gr Sierra Tipped MatchKings.”
Richard Franklin (who operated Richard’s Custom Rifles prior to his retirement), has built scores of varmint rifles, in many different calibers. One of Richard’s all-time favorite varmint rifles is a 14-twist, 22BR built on his model 11 stock in laminated Black Walnut and fiddleback maple. Richard says the rifle is versatile and deadly accurate out to 400 yards. Richard uses a Leupold 8.5-25x50mm LRT with varmint reticle.
“This is my light walking varminter. It’s built on a blueprinted SS Remington 700 short action and chambered as a no-turn 22 BR for Lapua brass. The bolt handle is a Dave Kiff replacement and I’ve fitted a Jewel BR trigger with bottom safety. Barrel is a Lilja, 1:14″ # 6 contour with a muzzle diameter of .750″. I shoot the 40gr V-Max in the rifle at 4000 FPS. Its tough on hogs if you don’t try them too far. 400 yards is about the max with it. Accuracy is outstanding and with Roy, Mike, my grandson and myself shooting this rifle I don’t believe it has missed more than 3 hogs out of over 100 shot at this summer. This rifle is carried in a ceiling rack in the truck where its handy and is used by the first person that grabs it when a hog is sighted if we are moving between setups. The Varmint reticle on the Leupold is nice for quick hold-overs as you change distances.”
Detail of Model 11 Stock (Different Rifle in Birdseye Maple)
22BR Rivals 22-250 Performance
With bullets in the 40gr to 60gr weight range, the 22BR gives up very little in velocity to a 22-250, despite burning quite a bit less powder (30-32 grains for the 22BR vs. 35-38 grains for the 22-250). With a match-quality chamber, the 22BR will probably have an edge in accuracy over a 22-250, and you should experience longer barrel life. Here are some recommended 22BR loads for 40-60gr bullets:
The Where To Shoot Mobile App quickly locates shooting ranges near you, drawing on North America’s most comprehensive directory of shooting ranges. Users can search by current location, state, or zip code. Once you locate a range, you can view activities offered along with a summary of range facilities. You can even get driving directions.
The app is modeled after NSSF’s popular WhereToShoot.org® website and is updated frequently with range information for every U.S. state and Canadian province. Once you’ve located a place to shoot, the App can provide directions to the range. The App also includes video tips for shooters, news, and firearm-safety information.
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McMillan Fiberglass Stocks is introducing a new F-Class Open Division stock. This offers a low profile fore-end and parallel geometry for improved tracking. This is similar to McMillan’s previous F-Open stock, but with important enhancements. Here is Kelly McMillan’s report:
“Our new Kestro is … made specifically for F-Class Open competition. Notice we have kept the low profile fore-end while increasing the mass and rigidity. The fore-end is not only ‘dead nuts’ in line with the butt stock, but it is also on an exactly parallel plane so when it recoils there is no rise or lateral shift in the cross hairs.
This model comes with an integral adjustable cheek-piece and can have our standard buttplate or our lightweight 3-way adjustable butt plate. My estimation is that this stock will weigh as light as 4.5 pounds fully dressed, or as much as 8 pounds depending on what you need.
We are currently working on the cheek-piece free model for those of you who don’t put your face on the stock. One more thing, this color combination we call a Tiger Stripe Maple.” Editor’s NOTE: Though “maple” is in the stock color name, this is a reinforced fiberglass stock, not wood.
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The Remington 700 is the most popular bolt-action rifle in America, at least according to Gunbroker.com sales figures for new and “previously-owned” rifles. So, chances are that you (or a close family member) may have a Rem 700 of some vintage sitting in the gunsafe. But do you have a copy of the official Remington 700 product manual in digital PDF format? Probably not.
To get you squared away, CLICK HERE for a PDF version of the latest Remington 700 Owner’s Manual (also covers models Seven, and 673).
Here are links for other Remington Manuals (Right lick and “Save As” to Download):
Everybody knows that powerful spotting scopes work best when mounted to a stable tripod or otherwise secured to a steady mount. Yet when most folks use binoculars, they never even think of using a tripod, despite the fact that tripod adapters are available for many premium binoculars. A serious hunter should learn how to glass with tripod support. With binoculars offering more that 8X magnification, you can really benefit from a steady mount. In this article, Mark Boardman of Vortex Optics, an experienced hunter, explains the benefits of using a tripod with high-magnification binoculars.
John Whidden of Whidden Gunworks used the .243 Winchester cartridge to win the 2016 NRA Long Range Championship, his fourth LR title at Camp Perry. John selected the .243 Win because it offers excellent ballistics with manageable recoil. John says that, at least for a sling shooter, the .243 Win is hard to beat at long range. Yes, John says, you can get somewhat better ballistics with a .284 Win or .300 WSM, but you’ll pay a heavy price in increased recoil.
.243 Winchester — The Forgotten 6mm Cartridge for Long Range
by John Whidden, 2016 National Long Range Champion
My experience with the .243 cartridge for use as a Long Range High Power cartridge dates back about 10 years or so. After building a .300 WSM, I realized that the recoil was hurting the quality of my shots. The WSM shot great, but I couldn’t always execute good shots when shooting it. From here I built a 6.5-284, and it shot well. I also had a very accurate 6mmBR at the time, and my logic in going to the .243 Win was to get wind performance equal to the 6.5-284 with recoil similar to the 6mmBR. The experiment has worked out well indeed!
Championship-Winning Load: Berger Bullets, Lapua Brass, and Vihtavuori N160
For a load, currently I’m shooting Lapua brass, PMC primers (Russian, similar to Wolf), VihtaVuori N160 single-base powder, and Berger 105 grain Hybrid bullets. I switched to the Hybrid bullets fairly recently at the beginning of the 2015 season. Previously I shot the 105gr Berger hunting VLDs, and in testing I found that the Hybrids were just as accurate without having to seat the bullet into the lands. The velocity of this combination when shot through the excellent Bartlein 5R barrels (32” length) is around 3275 FPS.
For my match ammo, I seat the Berger 105 Hybrids well off the lands — my bullets are “jumping” from .035″-.060″. I only use one seating depth for ammunition for multiple guns (I know some benchrest shooters will stop reading right here!) and the bullets jump further in the worn barrels than in the fresh barrels. The bullets are pointed up in our Bullet Pointing Die System and are moly-coated. The moly (molybdenum disulfide) does extend the cleaning interval a little bit, probably 20% or so. The Lapua .243 Win brass is all neck-turned to .0125″ thickness.
Whidden’s .243 Win Ammo is Loaded on a Dillon
My loading process is different than many people expect. I load my ammo on a Dillon 650 progressive press using our own Whidden Gunworks dies. However powder charges are individually weighed with a stand-alone automated scale/trickler system from AutoTrickler.com (see below). Employing a high-end force restoration scale, this micro-processor controlled system offers single-kernel precision. The weighed charges are then dropped into the cases with a funnel mounted to the Dillon head.
The Lapua .243 Win brass is full-length sized every time, and I run one of our custom-sized expanders in my sizer die. The expander measures .243″ which yields the desired .001″ neck tension. In my experience, the best way to get consistent neck tension is to run an expander in the case neck at some point. When sizing the case neck by a minimal amount such as is the case here, I don’t find any negative points in using an expander in the sizer die.
In my experience, the keys to accurate long range ammo are top quality bullets and the most consistent neck tension you can produce. From these starting points, the use of quality components and accurate powder measurement will finish out the magic.
Great Ballistics with 6mm 105s at 3275 FPS
Running at an impressive 3275 FPS, Berger 6mm 105 grain Hybrids deliver ballistics that are hard to beat, according to John Whidden:
“My .243 Win shoots inside a 6.5-284 with 142-grainers. Nothing out there is really ahead of [the .243], in 1000-yard ballistics unless you get into the short magnums or .284s and those carry a very significant recoil penalty. In the past I did shoot the 6.5-284. I went to the .243 Win because it had similar ballistics but had much less recoil. It doesn’t beat me up as much and is not as fatiguing.
With the .243 Win, there’s no tensing-up, no anticipating. With the reduced recoil (compared to a 7mm or big .308), I can break and shoot very good quality shots. I find I just shoot better shots with the .243 than I ever did with the 6.5-284.”
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On some internet shooting forums, self-declared “experts” advise new rifle shooters to stick to low-end factory rifles. These “experts” (many of whom don’t own a single really accurate rifle), claim that it will take years for a new shooter to learn how to shoot a rifle accurately. So, the argument goes, the accuracy offered by a precision-chambered rifle, with a custom barrel, is “wasted” on a new shooter.
We disagree with that viewpoint, at least when it comes to rifles shot from a rest. We’ve seen relatively new shooters, with help from a skilled mentor, do remarkably well with precision rifles right from the start. With a good bench gun, many new shooters can shoot well under 1 MOA on the first day. Certainly it takes time for a complete novice to learn how to handle the gun and to work the trigger smoothly. However, this editor has personally seen some inexperienced shooters try their hand at benchrest shooting, and within few month they are doing very well indeed at club shoots.
Accurate Rifles Reward Progress As Novices Build Skills
For bench shooting, we think a highly accurate rifle is a much better training device for a new shooter than a typical, cheap factory sporter. With a gun capable of 1.5-2.0 MOA at best, you can never really determine if a “flyer” is you or the gun. Conversely, when a novice shoots a gun that can put 5 shots through one ragged hole, if a shot goes way high or low, the shooter knows his aim, trigger control, or gun-handling is to blame. He (or she) can then correct the problem. And when the shooter does everything right, he or she will see a nice tight group on the target. The accurate rifle provides more meaningful feedback and it rewards progress. That helps the novice become a better shooter in a shorter period of time.
A while back, Forum Member Preacher and his “bunny hugger” niece from California proved this point. The young lady, with almost no shooting experience, took Preacher’s 6-6.5×47 and shot a sub-quarter-MOA, 3-shot group at 350 yards. Don’t tell her she needs to stick to a cheap factory rifle. Preacher reports: “My niece flew in from the west coast and came up to visit. When she saw a few of my full-blown varmint rifles, she wanted to shoot one. She did a super job even if she IS a ‘bunny hugger’. She pulled the 1.5 ounce Jewell on a few fired cases to check out the trigger pull and then got in behind the gun and put three shots into a 350-yard target with a one-inch circle.” We measured her group at 0.822″ (0.224 MOA). Don’t tell Preacher that accuracy is “wasted” on novices. He joked: “I sure don’t want her shooting at me ….”
Rifle Features BAT Action, Krieger Barrel, and Russo Laminated Stock:
For those who are interested, Preacher’s rifle features a BAT 3-lug action, 30″ Krieger 7.5-twist heavy contour barrel, and Russo stock (with clear coat by Preacher). Chambered in 6-6.5×47 Lapua, this gun “shoots the 108gr Bergers very well” according to Preacher. Yep, we agree with that — even when a novice “bunny-hugger” does the trigger-pulling.
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If you ever shoot factory ammo, you should consider getting Ammo & Ballistics 5. This resource book lists over 2,600 different loads for 190 cartridge types from 17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express, including the most popular centerfire and rimfire cartridges (both rifle and handgun). There are over 1,400 tables with ballistics data for nearly all commercially-loaded hunting ammunition sold in the United States (as of 2013, the publication date). Tables include velocity, energy, wind drift, bullet drop, and ballistic coefficient.
This book can be helpful when choosing ammo for a hunt. You can quickly compare the velocity and knock-down power of various types of commercial ammo. In addition, this book can help you choose a caliber/chambering for your next hunting rig, as you can compare factory load options.
Book Purchaser Reviews
“The data contained in this book is invaluable. If you don’t understand momentum vs. energy, MER and MEPBR, this book will help you gain an understanding. If you don’t know what the Taylor Knock Out (KO) Index is, this book will enlighten and inform.” — Daryl ID
“Great heaps of data! This volume has pages and pages of new data for .22LR like the hot Velocitor, and also on the .22 WMR from 30 grains up into the 50s. Most importantly there is lots of range data, drop, windage, kinetic energy, etc. — Terrific reference guide….” — E. Svanoe
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Forest of Windflags at World Benchrest Championships in France in 2011
There’s a simple, inexpensive “miracle device” that can cut your groups in half. If you’re not using this device, you’re giving away accuracy. The “miracle device” to which we refer is a simple wind indicator aka “windflag”. Using windflags may actually improve your accuracy on target much more than weighing charges to the kernel, or spending your life savings on the “latest and greatest” hardware.
Remarkably, many shooters who spend $3000.00 or more on a precision rifle never bother to set up windflags, or even simple wood stakes with some ribbon to show the wind. Whether you’re a competitive shooter, a varminter, or someone who just likes to punch small groups, you should always take a set of windflags (or some kind of wind indicators) when you head to the range or the prairie dog fields. And yes, if you pay attention to your windflags, you can easily cut your group sizes in half. Here’s proof…
Miss a 5 mph Shift and Double Your Group Size
The table below records the effect of a 5 mph crosswind at 100, 200, and 300 yards. You may be thinking, “well, I’d never miss a 5 mph let-off.” Consider this — if a gentle 2.5 mph breeze switches from 3 o’clock (R to L) to 9 o’clock (L to R), you’ve just missed a 5 mph net change. What will that do to your group? Look at the table to find out.
Values from Point Blank Ballistics software for 500′ elevation and 70° temperature.
Imagine you have a 6mm rifle that shoots half-MOA consistently in no-wind conditions. What happens if you miss a 5 mph shift (the equivalent of a full reversal of a 2.5 mph crosswind)? Well, if you’re shooting a 68gr flatbase bullet, your shot is going to move about 0.49″ at 100 yards, nearly doubling your group size. With a 105gr VLD, the bullet moves 0.28″ … not as much to be sure, but still enough to ruin a nice small group. What about an AR15, shooting 55-grainers at 3300 fps? Well, if you miss that same 5 mph shift, your low-BC bullet moves 0.68″. That pushes a half-inch group well past an inch. If you had a half-MOA capable AR, now it’s shooting worse than 1 MOA. And, as you might expect, the wind effects at 200 and 300 yards are even more dramatic. If you miss a 5 mph, full-value wind change, your 300-yard group could easily expand by 2.5″ or more.
If you’ve already invested in an accurate rifle with a good barrel, you are “throwing away” accuracy if you shoot without wind flags. You can spend a ton of money on fancy shooting accessories (such as expensive front rests and spotting scopes) but, dollar for dollar, nothing will potentially improve your shooting as much as a good set of windflags, used religiously.
With suicide accounting for nearly two-thirds of all firearm fatalities annually, the topic of suicide prevention deserves our attention. In recent years NSSF has worked with the Veterans Administration, the State of Utah, and mental health agencies to help educate gun owners and the public on how to keep firearms safely out of reach of those who, during a period of despair, decide to do themselves harm.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Data:
1. Nearly half of all suicides were by firearm in 2014.
2. Suicide accounted for almost two-thirds of gun deaths in 2014.
3. 90 percent of suicide attempts with a firearm are fatal.
The NSSF has committed to broaden its efforts, in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Recently, NSSF and AFSP announced a partnership to embark on a first-of-its-kind national plan to build and implement public education resources for firearms retailers, shooting ranges, and the firearms-owning community about suicide prevention and firearms.
Experts say that suicide results from the culmination of several health and life factors, with the decision to act often being made in minutes. Keeping firearms securely stored puts space between the period of risk and the means to act, and sometimes that … can help save a life.
AFSP has commenced a four-state pilot program that will involve firearms retailers and shooting ranges. This pilot program employs AFSP/NSSF jointly-developed strategies and resources to inform firearm owners about warning signs, prevention resources and secure firearms storage options. The NSSF also supports AFSP’s Project 2025, an initiative to reduce the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025. You will be hearing more about AFSP and NSSF efforts in this area.
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Summer is almost over. That’s means hunting season is coming soon. To help you prepare for your fall hunts, NRABlog.com has created a set of color practice hunting targets. You can hone your skills on a trio of bucks, three gobblers, or three wild hogs.
Each target features three red bullseyes, centered on the animals. You can print the targets in black and white, but they look best in color. Click on each image below to download a FREE printable PDF file.
As the NRA Blog says: “Print out the turkey target, grab your shotgun, and head to the outdoor range. Or, try your hand at deer and hog while zeroing your rifle.”
RIght-Click Each Image to Download Printable PDF File:
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In this .308 Win test, 70° F ammo shot 96 FPS slower than ammo heated to 130.5° F. And the 130.5° ammo was 145 fps faster than ammo right out of the freezer (at 25.5° F). That’s a huge difference…
EDITOR’s NOTE: The Sierra tester does not reveal the brand of powder tested here. Some powders are much more temp sensitive than others. Accordingly, you cannot extrapolate test results from one propellant to another. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see the actual recorded velocity shift with ammo temperature variations in a .308 Win.
Written by Sierra Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd This story originally appeared in theSierra Bullets Blog
A few weeks ago I was attending the Missouri State F-Class Match. This was a two-day event during the summer and temperatures were hot one day and hotter the next. I shot next to a gentleman who was relatively new to the sport. He was shooting a basically factory rifle and was enjoying himself with the exception that his scores were not as good as he hoped they would be and he was experiencing pressure issues with his ammunition. I noticed that he was having to force the bolt open on a couple of rounds. During a break, I visited with him and offered a couple of suggestions which helped his situation somewhat and he was able to finish the match without major issues.
He was shooting factory ammunition, which is normally loaded to upper levels of allowable pressures. While this ammunition showed no problems during “normal” testing, it was definitely showing issues during a 20-round string of fire in the temperatures we were competing in. My first suggestion was that he keep his ammunition out of the direct sun and shade it as much as possible. My second suggestion was to not close the bolt on a cartridge until he was ready to fire. He had his ammo in the direct sunlight and was chambering a round while waiting on the target to be pulled and scored which can take from a few seconds to almost a minute sometimes.
This time frame allowed the bullet and powder to absorb chamber [heat] and build pressure/velocity above normal conditions. Making my recommended changes lowered the pressures enough for the rifle and cartridge to function normally.
Testing Effects of Ammunition Temperature on Velocity and POI
After thinking about this situation, I decided to perform a test in the Sierra Bullets underground range to see what temperature changes will do to a rifle/cartridge combination. I acquired thirty consecutive .30 caliber 175 grain MatchKing bullets #2275 right off one of our bullet assembly presses and loaded them into .308 Winchester ammunition. I utilized an unnamed powder manufacturer’s product that is appropriate for the .308 Winchester cartridge. This load is not at the maximum for this cartridge, but it gives consistent velocities and accuracy for testing.
I took ten of the cartridges and placed them in a freezer to condition.
I set ten of them on my loading bench, and since it was cool and cloudy the day I performed this test I utilized a floodlight and stand to simulate ammunition being heated in the sun.
I kept track of the temperatures of the three ammunition samples with a non-contact laser thermometer.
The rifle was fired at room temperature (70 degrees) with all three sets of ammunition. I fired this test at 200 yards out of a return-to-battery machine rest. The aiming point was a leveled line drawn on a sheet of paper. I fired one group with the scope aimed at the line and then moved the aiming point across the paper from left to right for the subsequent groups.
NOTE that the velocity increased as the temperature of the ammunition did.
The ammunition from the freezer shot at 2451 fps.
The room temperature ammunition shot at 2500 fps.
The heated ammunition shot at 2596 fps.
The tune window of the particular rifle is fairly wide as is shown by the accuracy of the three pressure/velocity levels and good accuracy was achieved across the board. However, notice the point of impact shift with the third group? There is enough shift at 200 yards to cause a miss if you were shooting a target or animal at longer ranges. While the pressure and velocities changed this load was far enough from maximum that perceived over pressure issues such as flattened primer, ejector marks on the case head, or sticky extraction did not appear. If you load to maximum and then subject your ammunition to this test your results will probably be magnified in comparison.
This test showed that pressures, velocities, and point-of-impact can be affected by temperatures of your ammunition at the time of firing. It’s really not a bad idea to test in the conditions that you plan on utilizing the ammo/firearm in if at all possible. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to also test to see what condition changes do to your particular gun and ammunition combination so that you can make allowances as needed. Any personal testing along these lines should be done with caution as some powder and cartridge combination could become unsafe with relatively small changes in conditions.
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This week, American Rifleman TV looks at the history and heritage of Remington, which celebrates its 200th Anniversary this year. Founded in 1816, Remington is the oldest continuously-operating gun manufacturer in the United States, and it still sells more sporting rifles and shotguns than any other American company. Remington has also developed more cartridges than any other U.S. company. If you want to learn more about this important arms-maker, watch tonight’s episode, which you can preview below.
Two Hundred Years of Gun-Making Remington Arms Company celebrates its 200th year in business in 2016. The Remington enterprise was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington in Ilion, New York, as E. Remington and Sons. Remington is America’s oldest gun maker and is still the largest U.S. producer of shotguns and rifles. And it is the only American Company that sells firearms and ammunition under its own name. CLICK HERE for 200 facts about the 200-year-old company.
American Life in 1816
What was life like in America in 1816, two hundred years ago? This infographic offers some interesting facts. For example, average life expectancy was only 39 years, and a farm laborer earned just $12-$15 per month. Still want to go back to the “good old days”?
Click to Zoom Infographic:
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Long Range Success with Lapua Scenars
With the interest in ultra-long-range shooting in the USA, we thought you might like to see how they shoot out past 2000 meters in Scandinavia. Recently, a new Norwegian long range record was shot in Sokndal in Norway, at the Bøstøl shooting range, using Lapua 300 grain Scenar bullets.
With the target at 2165 meters (1.345 miles), the shooters managed 2/10 hits on steel. The cartridge (as you might expect) was the powerful .338 Lapua Magnum. The load was 89 grains of Vihtavuori N570 pushing the 300gr Scenars at 815 ms (2674 fps). The firearm used was Accuracy International .338 LM AXMC rifle with 27″ barrel and suppressor. Before the record hits at 2165 meters, the team also engaged targets at 1639m, 1710m, and 1850m scoring 4/10 hits on 95 x 100 cm steel target (that’s roughly one meter square, just over 3 feet per side).
About the Location — Sokndal, Norway
Sokndal is the southernmost municipality in Rogaland county, Norway. It is located in the traditional district of Dalane. The administrative center of the municipality is the village of Hauge. Other villages in Sokndal include Li, Rekefjord, Sogndalsstranda, and Åna-Sira.
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Photo 1: Three Near-Equal-Weight 7mm Bullets with Different Shapes
TECH TIP: Bullets of the same weight (and caliber) can generate very different pressure levels due to variances in Bearing Surface Length (BSL).
Bullet 1 (L-R), the RN/FB, has a very slight taper and only reaches its full diameter (0.284″) very near the cannelure. This taper is often seen on similar bullets — it helps reduce pressures with good accuracy. The calculated BSL of Bullet 1 was ~0.324″. The BSL of Bullet 2, in the center, was ~0.430”, and Bullet 3’s was ~ 0.463″. Obviously, bullets can be visually deceiving as to BSL!
This article from the USAMU covers an important safety issue — why you should never assume that a “book” load for a particular bullet will be safe with an equal-weight bullet of different shape/design. The shape and bearing surface of the bullet will affect the pressure generated inside the barrel. This is part of the USAMU’s Handloading Hump Day series, publiches on the USAMU Facebook page.
Beginning Handloading, Part 13:
Extrapolating Beyond Your Data, or … “I Don’t Know, What I Don’t Know!”
We continue our Handloading Safety theme, focusing on not inadvertently exceeding the boundaries of known, safe data. Bullet manufacturers’ loading manuals often display three, four, or more similar-weight bullets grouped together with one set of load recipes. The manufacturer has tested these bullets and developed safe data for that group. However, seeing data in this format can tempt loaders — especially new ones — to think that ALL bullets of a given weight and caliber can interchangeably use the same load data. Actually, not so much.
The researchers ensure their data is safe with the bullet yielding the highest pressure. Thus, all others in that group should produce equal or less pressure, and they are safe using this data.
However, bullet designs include many variables such as different bearing surface lengths, hardness, and even slight variations in diameter. These can occasionally range up to 0.001″ by design. Thus, choosing untested bullets of the same weight and caliber, and using them with data not developed for them can yield excess pressures.
This is only one of the countless reasons not to begin at or very near the highest pressure loads during load development. Always begin at the starting load and look for pressure signs as one increases powder charges.
Bullet bearing surface length (BSL) is often overlooked when considering maximum safe powder charges and pressures. In photo 1 (at top), note the differences in the bullets’ appearance. All three are 7mm, and their maximum weight difference is just five grains. Yet, the traditional round nose, flat base design on the left appears to have much more BSL than the sleeker match bullets. All things being equal, based on appearance, the RN/FB bullet seems likely to reach maximum pressure with significantly less powder than the other two designs.
Bearing Surface Measurement Considerations
Some might be tempted to use a bullet ogive comparator (or two) to measure bullets’ true BSL for comparison’s sake. Unfortunately, comparators don’t typically measure maximum bullet diameter and this approach can be deceiving.
Photo 2: The Perils of Measuring Bearing Surface Length with Comparators
In Photo 2, two 7mm comparators have been installed on a dial caliper in an attempt to measure BSL. Using this approach, the BSLs differed sharply from the original [measurements]. The comparator-measured Bullet 1 BSL was 0.694” vs. 0.324” (original), Bullet 2 was 0.601” (comparator) vs. 0.430” (original), and Bullet 3 (shown in Photo 2) was 0.602” (comparator) vs. 0.463” (original). [Editor’s comment — Note the very large difference for Bullet 1, masking the fact that the true full diameter on this bullet starts very far back.]
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Earlier this summer, California Governor Jerry Brown signed six restrictive new gun laws. Less than 24 hours after they arrived on his desk, Brown signed six anti-gun bills railroaded through the Democratic-controlled California Legislature. This legislation imposes many new burdens on California gun-owners and criminalizes conduct that was heretofore legal. With little public debate, these bills were rushed through the legislative process. And now Californians are facing the disturbing consequences.
FREE Online Webinar on California Gun Laws
To help Californians understand their responsibilities under the new gun laws, the Michel & Associates law firm is hosting a free online seminar this week. As space is limited, advanced registration is required for the seminar. CLICK HERE to REGISTER.
The seminar will be held, Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 12:00 pm (PT). This live webinar will explain how the new gun laws will affect gun owners, when they will go into effect, and what citizens need to do to comply with these laws. The seminar will be hosted by C.D. Michel and Joseph Silvoso, lawyers with Michel & Associates. Important topics will include:
SB 1235 (Ammunition Purchase Bill): This new law requires the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to record ammunition vendor and ammunition purchaser information. This ill-conceived legislation has caused much confusion. It is unclear how AB 1235 will affect mail-order purchases of loaded ammunition from vendors outside the state.
SB 1446 (Magazine Ban): SB 1446 which will require Californians to forfeit, destroy, or ship out of the state ALL firearms magazines that can hold more than ten rounds. Owners of legally-obtained magazines, previously “grandfathered”, will receive no compensation though they must give up their property. Those who fail to comply will be fined and charged with an infraction, a low-level crime. This magazine restriction goes into effect July 1, 2017.
Other California Gun Laws Signed by Gov. Brown:
AB 1135 (Levine) and SB 880 (Hall) Firearms: Assault Weapons – Expands the definition of assault weapons based on whether a semiautomatic firearm has a detachable magazine, banning thousands of popular firearms.
AB 1511 (Santiago) Firearms: Lending – Makes it illegal to loan a firearm to a person who is personally known to you (except for family members with restrictions).
AB 1695 (Bonta) Firearms: False Reports – Creates a 10-year prohibition on owning firearms for someone convicted of falsely reporting a lost or stolen firearm.